6 Simple Cocktails Everyone Should Learn

pouring a cocktail

In 2024, innovation is front and centre and on full display in local cocktail bars, featuring a unique selection of new flavours and ingredients. From spicy to sweet to floral, today’s mixologists are combining ingredients outside the norm that result in very interesting looking, tasting, and sounding cocktails. It’s pretty impressive. But the world of cocktails becomes a little more straightforward that each and every recipe is just a combination of spirits, sugar, water, or bitters.

If you’re interested in entertaining friends at home or just working on your own cocktail game, like anything, you’ve got to start with the basics. And it turns out the basic, foundational cocktails are pretty darn tasty. Plus, they are far easier to make, so you can ditch the smoker, torch, fancy ice, or any other tools like these. Just head to your local liquor store for the ingredients.

In this article, we’re breaking down 6 simple cocktails that everyone should learn:



Negroni cocktail dark background

The Negroni is a classic cocktail that hails from Italy, the land of aperitifs. It is rumored the cocktail got its start in Caffè Casoni in Florence thanks to Count Camillo Negroni. Fast forward to 2013, the Campari brand and Imbibe magazine partnered on the creation of Negroni week in June. The popularity of the Negroni is undoubtable.

Perhaps one of the reasons why the Negroni has become so popular is the fact it is dead easy to make. It’s made with 1:1:1 proportion, making it near impossible to mess up, which pretty much guarantees you’ll get a quality Negroni everywhere you go. All you do is fill your glass with some ice, pour over the 3 liquid ingredients, and stir.


  • 1 oz gin
  • 1 oz Campari
  • 1 oz sweet vermouth
  • Orange peel garnish (optional)



Daquiri sitting on a table

The Daiquiri is a refreshing mixture that is well-known for its frozen and flavoured variations (like strawberry), but the standard Daiquiri is translucent in colour, not frozen, and not unbearably sweet. The Daiquiri became popular when Jennings Cox, an American engineer, created the drink after a Cold War invasion of Cuba in 1898.

For this yummy Cuban cocktail you’ll need a cocktail shaker. Just throw all 3 ingredients into the cocktail shaker with some ice and give it a hard shake. A tall cocktail glass works best, and if you’ve got a strainer, that will help hold back some of the chipped ice and lime remnants.


  • 2 oz white rum
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • ¾ oz simple sugar
  • Lime wheel for garnish (optional)



Manhattan cocktail with cherry garnish

The Manhattan is a booze-forward classic cocktail that is elegant, sophisticated, and timeless. Like all cocktails, the history of the Manhattan is not crystal clear, but we do know this cocktail got its name from New York City around the pre-prohibition era around the 1870s.

The Manhattan is a rye whisky cocktail, but you can easily substitute that out for standard whisky or slightly sweeter Bourbon. Putting everything together is simple – just combine all your ingredients with ice, stir well, and pour into a preferably tall cocktail glass.


  • 2 oz rye whisky
  • 1 oz sweet vermouth
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Maraschino cherry for garnish (optional)


French 75

French 75 cocktail

The French 75 rose to fame thanks to Harry MacElhone when he created it in1915 in a Paris bar called the New York Bar, which would eventually be known as Harry’s New York Bar. This was World War 1 era, so the name French 75 drew inspiration from the French 75mm field gun.

This cocktail is an excellent choice for a celebration, as bubbly is the leading ingredient, so you’ll want to make sure you have cocktail flutes for this one. Of course you can always make your own simple sugar, but if you choose to use the premade stuff, this cocktail is dead easy to make. Just throw everything in a cocktail shaker with ice, shake well, and strain into your flute.


  • 4 oz cold Champagne
  • 1 oz gin
  • ½ oz lemon juice
  • 2 dashes simple syrup
  • Lemon twist for garnish (optional)



Margaritas with salt rim

The Margarita is a relatively new cocktail said to have been invented in the 1930s by Carlos “Danny” Herrera in Baja, Mexico. You’ve probably enjoyed a frozen Margarita on a beach somewhere, or even bought low quality premixed Margarita in a can. But here we’re talking about the real, classic Margarita.

The key to a good Margarita is good Tequila and fresh lime. This cocktail is surprisingly easy to make, so there’s no need to cut any corners. And if you want to take things to the next level, create a salt plate for dipping the rim of your glassware in (just run the rim with a lime wedge first). After that, combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake for about 15 seconds before straining into a glass.


  • 2 oz tequila
  • 1 oz triple sec
  • 1 lime worth of juice
  • Lime wheel for garnish (optional)
  • Salt for the rim (garnish)



Shaft cocktail

The shaft is an iconic Western Canadian cocktail, with the birthplace of Calgary or Victoria depending on who you ask. You can find one in just about every bar in this part of the country, along with some interesting variations. And while the shaft is referred to as a cocktail, it’s drank like a shot but with a straw.

The ingredients of this delicious cocktail may vary depending on who you ask, but the flavour should always be similar. It’s pretty easy to make too. Just combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker along with some ice, shake, and pour.


  • 2 oz espresso or cold brew
  • 1 oz vodka
  • 1 oz cream or alternative
  • 1 oz coffee liqueur


Ready to start making these simple cocktails at home? All you need is a cocktail shaker, a strainer, and liquid ingredients from your local liquor store. If you’re in the Lower Mainland area, Springs Group has 14 liquor stores from North Van to Delta to Mission. Plus, our friendly staff will be there to help!